Spain agrees need for "pay moderation"
Unions and employers in Spain have signed a new framework agreement on collective bargaining for the coming 12 months.
It is the fourth agreement in a row signed by Spain's main union confederations, the CCOO and the UGT, and the employers' organisations CEOE and CEPYME. As in the past, the two sides have agreed to adopt "a policy of moderate growth in pay adapted to the economic situation".
The agreement, signed on 4 March, says that negotiators at industry, provincial or company level should in the first instance take account of the government's inflation forecast for 2005 (2.0%). Increases above this are possible within limits of higher productivity, although negotiators should take into account other factors such as increasing employment and increasing domestic consumption.
Negotiators should also include a clause to compensate employees if prices increase by more than the government's forecast. Inflation is currently 3.1% (January), although the government's forecast covers the period December 2004 to December 2005.
As well as pay, the framework agreement covers:
* increased flexibility in working time and work organisation;
* better training and qualification of employees;
* equal opportunities; and
* health and safety.
The agreement was backed unanimously by the UGT executive, and by 60% of the CCOO executive; 20% opposed it and 20% abstained. CCOO general secretary Jose Maria Fidalgo told his executive that the agreement was worth supporting, not just because its content was good but also because it had been "achieved in an adverse climate".